What an extremely tiring week. And, more to come. So today, I’m after a break and therefore cheating a little. The bulk of this post was made as a comment on Thursday’s. Because it raises some interesting points, I though I’d use it as a full post, with thanks to JimmyMac. Within, there are tips for operators and authorities. I’ve also updated those operators who are using social media and, for south central England, the number of fans/followers. You don’t have to “follow” a site to see information, of course.
The problems with snow in the north west (says JimmyMac) seems to have highlighted a few points to me that, as a passenger and a web professional, I hope operators can put to good use:
- If you’re going to use Facebook and Twitter, you need to be proactive, checking regularly to see whether there are any comments or questions to address.
- You need to be able to facilitate staff on the ground to issue updates outside of normal office hours. Yesterday, Arriva followed First Group in heeding JimmyMac’s advise by temprarily using a static front page
- If you have a database driven website, there may be a danger that the number of hits will exceed the capabilities of your web server. A temporary static HTML home page (perhaps with a link through to the rest of your website) is your friend in this instance.
- Any PTEs or councils should concentrate on linking to the information that operators supply rather than duplicating it with out-of-date info. Concentrate your efforts on finding out what the smaller operators are doing, the ones who have not yet got any web presence.
- Twitter is good for reporting events as they happen. Facebook is good for answering queries. But neither can beat an updated website list of disrupted services for ease of finding whether your bus route is affected or not! If you use one or both of the first two methods, it’s best to utilise the third method in addition.
- Be as detailed as possible when listing any disruption. If a route is missing out a section, why not list the missed roads, rather than the name of the area. And if there’s a temporary terminus, tell us which bus stops are out of use!
And finally, remember: every person who checks the website is potentially one less telephone call you have to deal with!
Here’s an updated list of known operators who either tweet or use Facebook (or both)
Centrebus, Norfolk Green, Konnectbus, Suffolk council, First Hampshire, Cardiff Bus, First Devon & Cornwall, First West Yorkshire, Plymouth Citybus, Wilts & Dorset, Metrobus, Transdev Yellow Buses, Bluestar, Southern Vectis, Ipswich Buses, Go North East, SYPTE, Merseytravel, Velvet, The Big Lemon, Nottingham City Transport, Metro PTE and Lothian Buses.
Current position regarding social media followers in south central England
|Followers or Fans||On Twitter||On Facebook|
|Bluestar||104 to 147 to 186||1,002 to 1,591 to 1,930|
|Southern Vectis||171 to 242 to 402||N/A|
|Transdev Yellow Buses||NEW 0 to 16||279 to 379 to 431|
|Velvet||108 to 125 to 132||707 to 733 to 743|
|Wilts & Dorset||N/A||316 to 650 to 833|
Metrobus now has over 4,560 on Facebook!